Apple says it wants each Fitness+ workout to be 'a piece of art'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 5
From the design of its Santa Monica studios to the selection of its trainers, Apple Fitness+ was made to make working out "a little easier, a little more motivating, and a little simpler to measure."

Apple Fitness+ on an iPhone with an Apple Watch. Credit: Apple
Apple Fitness+ on an iPhone with an Apple Watch. Credit: Apple



Apple recently invited Men's Health to a virtual tour of the Apple Fitness+ studios, a three-story building in Southern California. On the tour, the magazine also spoke to Apple fitness chief Jay Blahnik and other executives working on the project.

"We want these workouts to be magical. We're creating a piece of art, a piece of inspiration, a piece of motivation. Many people might not think about the importance of lighting a cycling class differently than a yoga class, but we think it makes a difference," Blahnik said.

During the coronavirus pandemic, online workouts and fitness streaming platforms exploded in popularity. But, in such a saturated market, Apple is aiming to do something different.

Apple Fitness+, as Men's Health points out, might be a "glimpse of the future of fitness." That's because of its combination of biometric data and activity tracking via the Apple Watch; high-quality cinematography for the workouts; strategic integration with Apple Music; and an app that lets users choose their own workouts.

Credit: Men's Health
Credit: Men's Health


Even the design of the studio has been taken into account. In typical Apple fashion, it's outfitted in a modern aesthetic with plenty of white and wood details. Apple shoots each fitness video with seven high-end cameras, mounted on robotic arms to enable smooth movement.

"We built the studio in a way that would allow shooting all the angles to make the right choices to show just the right angle at just the right time," Blahnik said.

The attention detail also extends to how Apple presents user data, and how it monitors and analyzes biometric information.
"When the trainer says in a HIIT workout, Sprint all-out for 30 seconds,' being able to see that time is an incredible motivator. It makes for a better, more immersive workout. [Integrated, dynamic smart metrics] take it to another level compared to a typical video workout. We had to think hard about how to curate the experience so you're not overwhelmed by metrics and animations and that those things are happening exactly when you might expect them to and in ways that are helpful," Blahnik said.
To maintain a level of inclusivity and diversity, Apple also chose a mix of trainers that represent both well-known professionals and lesser-known trainers across a variety of modalities. One key is how the trainers also appear in each other's videos, offering a degree of cross-pollination.
"Take Dustin Brown, one of the expert yoga teachers. He's also a black belt in jujitsu and a former professional surfer. He's obviously a very skilled yoga teacher, but he'd never rowed on a rower prior to joining the team. Now he's in a workout with Josh Crosby, a former rowing world champion. Dustin doesn't know rowing. Josh doesn't know yoga. But there's something fundamentally wonderful about them working together, because they look beyond biomechanics, beyond their expertise, and learn from each other," Blahnik said.
Other aspects of the Apple Fitness+ experience on display during the tour include how the app learns each user's preferences and recommends new and familiar workouts, and the deep integration with Apple Music.

Although Blahnik didn't detail what's next for Apple in health and fitness, he did reiterate that the company is in the industry for the long haul.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint," Blahnik said. "We're excited about the product that we're launching and excited about the future. This isn't a hobby for us. This is something we're really committing to and investing in."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    So far I like Fitness+. I’ve done core, HIIT, treadmill, cycling and rowing. I like Josh, Sam and Sherica. 

    I get frustrated by my Apple Watch, though. It will frequently stop registering my heart rate and I can’t figure out why. Before any workout I tighten my Sport Band one notch so it’s a little more snug. It’s tight enough that it doesn’t move much on my wrist without using my other hand to manipulate it. 

    Earlier this week I was rowing and noticed my heart rate was grayed out and “stuck” on where it was during warmup. I tried to make a little adjustment and that didn’t help. The only thing that got it going again was to hold the rowing handle with one hand and let my arm with my watch on it hang by my side for about a minute. That happened 3 times in a 20 minute workout. Looking at the workout data shows some large gaps in heart rate. 

    Other times I notice but can’t really do much in the moment to change it. It isn’t uncommon to have no heart rate data for those workouts. It gets annoying. Not to mention I’m sure my place on then Burn Bar isn’t accurate at the end of the workout. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 2 of 22
    iBasiBas Posts: 1member
    I had the same on my rower. Googled it and this worked for me:

    —Open your iPhone’s Watch app and: Go to General and make sure that Workout Power Saving Mode is Off. Next, go to Privacy and check that both Heart Rate and Fitness Tracking are both On. Finally, go to Passcode and check that Wrist Detection is On.

    Read the rest of this article at: https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/technology/2019/10/how-to-fix-apple-watch-heart-rate-monitor-not-working/
    edited March 5 Rayz2016muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 22
    ChRoChRo Posts: 1member
    A piece of art.....I thought my TV was broken during my free trial, now I realize months in the videos just look really bad.
  • Reply 4 of 22
    cmd-zcmd-z Posts: 69member
    Sorry Apple, no cycling cadence = deal-breaker
  • Reply 5 of 22
    Apple says they want fitness plus to be for everyone, yet it's not accessible to all of the vision impaired. 
    Yes, choosing a workout works as it should, and VoiceOver even reads out the popups on your screen when a trainer calls for them during a workout. It's neat when the burn bar comes up and tells you how you are doing. But the workouts themselves aren't accessible at all. 

    If you've been working out for a long time, you might be able to figure out the moves, but not if you're a total noob to working out like I am. And of course if you can't see the video, you can't follow the other trainers who are doing modified versions of the moves.

    I get that audio descriptions, like in Apple TV plus shows wouldn't work well for workouts, but perhaps they could have a button in the interface before beginning a workout that VoiceOver users could tap that would give them a text description of the moves that could be reviewed before beginning the workout. 
    It's disappointing that Apple didn't have something in place for VoiceOver users, especially during the pandemic when working out could be really beneficial. 
  • Reply 6 of 22
    joogabahjoogabah Posts: 128member
    So far I like Fitness+. I’ve done core, HIIT, treadmill, cycling and rowing. I like Josh, Sam and Sherica. 

    I get frustrated by my Apple Watch, though. It will frequently stop registering my heart rate and I can’t figure out why. Before any workout I tighten my Sport Band one notch so it’s a little more snug. It’s tight enough that it doesn’t move much on my wrist without using my other hand to manipulate it. 

    Earlier this week I was rowing and noticed my heart rate was grayed out and “stuck” on where it was during warmup. I tried to make a little adjustment and that didn’t help. The only thing that got it going again was to hold the rowing handle with one hand and let my arm with my watch on it hang by my side for about a minute. That happened 3 times in a 20 minute workout. Looking at the workout data shows some large gaps in heart rate. 

    Other times I notice but can’t really do much in the moment to change it. It isn’t uncommon to have no heart rate data for those workouts. It gets annoying. Not to mention I’m sure my place on then Burn Bar isn’t accurate at the end of the workout. 
    Try moving it up your arm an inch or so, away from your wrist.  That always makes it work for me.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    iBas said:
    I had the same on my rower. Googled it and this worked for me:

    —Open your iPhone’s Watch app and: Go to General and make sure that Workout Power Saving Mode is Off. Next, go to Privacy and check that both Heart Rate and Fitness Tracking are both On. Finally, go to Passcode and check that Wrist Detection is On.

    Read the rest of this article at: https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/technology/2019/10/how-to-fix-apple-watch-heart-rate-monitor-not-working/
    Unfortunately, that is already how my watch is set up, and has been for years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not only with Fitness+ workouts that I have that issue, it’s just that I’m noticing it more often. 

    joogabah said:
    So far I like Fitness+. I’ve done core, HIIT, treadmill, cycling and rowing. I like Josh, Sam and Sherica. 

    I get frustrated by my Apple Watch, though. It will frequently stop registering my heart rate and I can’t figure out why. Before any workout I tighten my Sport Band one notch so it’s a little more snug. It’s tight enough that it doesn’t move much on my wrist without using my other hand to manipulate it. 

    Earlier this week I was rowing and noticed my heart rate was grayed out and “stuck” on where it was during warmup. I tried to make a little adjustment and that didn’t help. The only thing that got it going again was to hold the rowing handle with one hand and let my arm with my watch on it hang by my side for about a minute. That happened 3 times in a 20 minute workout. Looking at the workout data shows some large gaps in heart rate. 

    Other times I notice but can’t really do much in the moment to change it. It isn’t uncommon to have no heart rate data for those workouts. It gets annoying. Not to mention I’m sure my place on then Burn Bar isn’t accurate at the end of the workout. 
    Try moving it up your arm an inch or so, away from your wrist.  That always makes it work for me.
    I’ll give that a shot. Like I said, I tighten it before exercising so there isn’t much play but I can still try. Perhaps I’ll loosen it, or not tighten it. 
  • Reply 8 of 22
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,102member
    Calling it art is a bit of nonsense. Apple's styling of the rooms in Fitness+ are on par with expectations. The spaces are not over-styled to distraction, but feel enough like the real thing despite being a recording room. Importantly they're not distracting or condescending. (Sounds odd, but being tone-deaf is easy in this industry.)

    I think their biggest achievement is who they've brought on board to do the instruction - they're all very good as instructors and the breadth of the diversity (even including a pregnant woman) is helpful for encouraging people who might not think something like this is for them. The trainers also keep to a fixed fitness envelope meaning that people can buddy up with a trainer that fits their fitness level while also servicing a wide level of fitness experience.

    There are some legit gripes I've read above, but these are more issues with the watch/technology rather than the Fitness+ service. For any exercise expecting rapid heart rate changes (including those outside of the fitness+ app) such HIIT or weight lifting - get a chest strap, they're cheap, pair directly with the watch and will give you a far better result, especially if focussing on calorie burn.

    For Cycling cadence: the watch has never recorded it and that limitation extends to Fitness+. However the lack of cadence or bike resistance is not a deal breaker for performing a cycling workout, what is important: your heart rate.

  • Reply 9 of 22
    The videos may look nice, but I couldn’t get past the truly daunting number of fake smiles. Presenting workouts with some relaxed positivity, but without the over the top cartoonish aspect would really be nice. 
    appleinsideruser
  • Reply 10 of 22
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 8,964member
    So far I like Fitness+. I’ve done core, HIIT, treadmill, cycling and rowing. I like Josh, Sam and Sherica. 

    I get frustrated by my Apple Watch, though. It will frequently stop registering my heart rate and I can’t figure out why. Before any workout I tighten my Sport Band one notch so it’s a little more snug. It’s tight enough that it doesn’t move much on my wrist without using my other hand to manipulate it. 

    Earlier this week I was rowing and noticed my heart rate was grayed out and “stuck” on where it was during warmup. I tried to make a little adjustment and that didn’t help. The only thing that got it going again was to hold the rowing handle with one hand and let my arm with my watch on it hang by my side for about a minute. That happened 3 times in a 20 minute workout. Looking at the workout data shows some large gaps in heart rate. 

    Other times I notice but can’t really do much in the moment to change it. It isn’t uncommon to have no heart rate data for those workouts. It gets annoying. Not to mention I’m sure my place on then Burn Bar isn’t accurate at the end of the workout. 

    I've noticed the same:   My Apple Watch loses the heart rate while doing Apple's Fitness+ workouts -- particularly treadmill.   It doesn't do that anywhere or anytime else -- just while doing an Apple Fitness+ workout.  I've begun to pause the workout, step off of the treadmill, take my Apple Watch off and put it back on to restart the heart rate function.
    ...  It's weird -- but obviously it has something to do with the tight integration between the watch and the workout.  My best theory is that it overloads the processor in my Series 4 Apple Watch.
  • Reply 11 of 22
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 8,964member
    Calling it art is a bit of nonsense. Apple's styling of the rooms in Fitness+ are on par with expectations. The spaces are not over-styled to distraction, but feel enough like the real thing despite being a recording room. Importantly they're not distracting or condescending. (Sounds odd, but being tone-deaf is easy in this industry.)

    I think their biggest achievement is who they've brought on board to do the instruction - they're all very good as instructors and the breadth of the diversity (even including a pregnant woman) is helpful for encouraging people who might not think something like this is for them. The trainers also keep to a fixed fitness envelope meaning that people can buddy up with a trainer that fits their fitness level while also servicing a wide level of fitness experience.

    There are some legit gripes I've read above, but these are more issues with the watch/technology rather than the Fitness+ service. For any exercise expecting rapid heart rate changes (including those outside of the fitness+ app) such HIIT or weight lifting - get a chest strap, they're cheap, pair directly with the watch and will give you a far better result, especially if focussing on calorie burn.

    For Cycling cadence: the watch has never recorded it and that limitation extends to Fitness+. However the lack of cadence or bike resistance is not a deal breaker for performing a cycling workout, what is important: your heart rate.


    There should be no need for a chest strap if you have an Apple Watch.   While it is true a chest strap (being a single lead EKG) is more accurate, the Apple Watch has been shown to be plenty accurate (as long as instructions are followed and you don't have dark skin or tatoos obstructing the light.).

    But, it does have problems during Apple Fitness+ workouts for some reason.  But I assume Apple is aware of the problems and working on correcting them.
  • Reply 12 of 22
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 8,964member
    The videos may look nice, but I couldn’t get past the truly daunting number of fake smiles. Presenting workouts with some relaxed positivity, but without the over the top cartoonish aspect would really be nice. 

    Actually, the LACK of what you complain about is one of my favorite aspects of Apple Fitness+.

    I can find trainers who take the workout seriously and realize (at least for we amateurs doing it) it is hard, fairly unpleasant work.   And, they do not try to convince us that it's easy or fun.

    In that regard, Kyle is my favorite trainer.   For core and strength workouts he has deprived me of experiencing the other trainers because it just feels comfortable working out with him:   when I'm pushing beyond my comfort level I never hear him ask "Isn't this fun and easy?"
  • Reply 13 of 22
    BeatsBeats Posts: 1,893member
    This is one of Apple’s most innovative products to date. Love how the media and iHaters are pretending like it doesn’t exist.

    keep up the good work.

    Next I’d like to see FaceID cameras for Apple TV to track body movements, yoga, stretching etc.

    Apple could also make this the iTunes for Fitness and sell each lesson separately.

    Also change the damn name to Apple Fitness. Unless there’s a free version I don’t get the point of the extra syllable “+”.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 8,964member
    Beats said:
    This is one of Apple’s most innovative products to date. Love how the media and iHaters are pretending like it doesn’t exist.

    keep up the good work.

    Next I’d like to see FaceID cameras for Apple TV to track body movements, yoga, stretching etc.

    Apple could also make this the iTunes for Fitness and sell each lesson separately.

    Also change the damn name to Apple Fitness. Unless there’s a free version I don’t get the point of the extra syllable “+”.

    There is a free version:   You select a workout on your Apple Watch then just start doing it -- running, lifting, core, skiing, whatever...
  • Reply 15 of 22
    xyzzy01xyzzy01 Posts: 72member
    So far I like Fitness+. I’ve done core, HIIT, treadmill, cycling and rowing. I like Josh, Sam and Sherica. 

    I get frustrated by my Apple Watch, though. It will frequently stop registering my heart rate and I can’t figure out why. Before any workout I tighten my Sport Band one notch so it’s a little more snug. It’s tight enough that it doesn’t move much on my wrist without using my other hand to manipulate it. 

    Earlier this week I was rowing and noticed my heart rate was grayed out and “stuck” on where it was during warmup. I tried to make a little adjustment and that didn’t help. The only thing that got it going again was to hold the rowing handle with one hand and let my arm with my watch on it hang by my side for about a minute. That happened 3 times in a 20 minute workout. Looking at the workout data shows some large gaps in heart rate. 

    Other times I notice but can’t really do much in the moment to change it. It isn’t uncommon to have no heart rate data for those workouts. It gets annoying. Not to mention I’m sure my place on then Burn Bar isn’t accurate at the end of the workout. 

    Get a pulse strap - e.g. a Polar H10 - and connect that to your Apple Watch.

    While the Apple Watch is great for many activities, it won't work well for some exercises - e.g. pushups, mountain climbers etc. The wrist is just not an optimal place for accurate HR.

    I also don't like to do so many kettlebell exercises with the Apple Watch... it's too easy to destroy it.

    That said, my main issue with Fitness+: They didn't do a worldwide launch, just a limited one - unlike things like Apple Music, Apple TV+ etc. It's just not available here.

  • Reply 16 of 22
    The videos may look nice, but I couldn’t get past the truly daunting number of fake smiles. Presenting workouts with some relaxed positivity, but without the over the top cartoonish aspect would really be nice. 
    Absolutely! Those fake smiles stopped us signing up. Maybe it’s acceptable in the US, but it doesn’t travel well.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 8,964member
    The videos may look nice, but I couldn’t get past the truly daunting number of fake smiles. Presenting workouts with some relaxed positivity, but without the over the top cartoonish aspect would really be nice. 
    Absolutely! Those fake smiles stopped us signing up. Maybe it’s acceptable in the US, but it doesn’t travel well.

    Actually, the absence of the "fake smiles" -- and fake cheerfulness -- is what I like about Apple Fitness+.  At least from the trainers that I favor.
    ihatescreennames
  • Reply 18 of 22
    The videos may look nice, but I couldn’t get past the truly daunting number of fake smiles. Presenting workouts with some relaxed positivity, but without the over the top cartoonish aspect would really be nice. 
    Absolutely! Those fake smiles stopped us signing up. Maybe it’s acceptable in the US, but it doesn’t travel well.

    Actually, the absence of the "fake smiles" -- and fake cheerfulness -- is what I like about Apple Fitness+.  At least from the trainers that I favor.
    I agree. The trainers in the workouts I have done all come off as very genuine, even the ones that I haven’t really gone back to. 

    In regard to the comments above mentioning how poor the video quality is, those people have clearly not tried Fitness+. So far I have done workouts on my iPad, in my exercise room on a 30” screen and in our theater with a 110” screen. In every case the video is beautiful. Those comments are nonsense. 

    PS: I just finished a rowing workout with Josh and left my watch strap on it’s normal setting instead of tightening it. I only lost my heart rate one time, early on on the workout and for maybe 30 seconds. A definite improvement over other times. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 19 of 22
    The videos may look nice, but I couldn’t get past the truly daunting number of fake smiles. Presenting workouts with some relaxed positivity, but without the over the top cartoonish aspect would really be nice. 
    Absolutely! Those fake smiles stopped us signing up. Maybe it’s acceptable in the US, but it doesn’t travel well.

    Actually, the absence of the "fake smiles" -- and fake cheerfulness -- is what I like about Apple Fitness+.  At least from the trainers that I favor.
    Interesting you say that again. Maybe the fake smiles are less bad once you get past the free taster samples? 
  • Reply 20 of 22
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 8,964member
    The videos may look nice, but I couldn’t get past the truly daunting number of fake smiles. Presenting workouts with some relaxed positivity, but without the over the top cartoonish aspect would really be nice. 
    Absolutely! Those fake smiles stopped us signing up. Maybe it’s acceptable in the US, but it doesn’t travel well.

    Actually, the absence of the "fake smiles" -- and fake cheerfulness -- is what I like about Apple Fitness+.  At least from the trainers that I favor.
    Interesting you say that again. Maybe the fake smiles are less bad once you get past the free taster samples? 
    Different response to a different comment.

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